Every fall, our staff fields questions about Medicare Open Enrollment. As we prepare to help our clients review their 2019 Medicare plans and options, we are sharing some useful information to explain the Medicare enrollment process.
What is Medicare Open Enrollment?
The Open Enrollment Period is when all people with Medicare can change their prescription drug coverage and Advantage plan for the following year to better meet their needs. If you would like our help in determining which prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan is right for you for 2019, contact our office. Linda Valley and Haley Hickingbotham will assist you in selecting the most cost-effective Medicare coverage.
Do I have to enroll every year?
Medicare health and drug plans can change from year to year. For example, we have had several clients call and tell us that they have received letters from their current plan that shows increases in costs. It is common to have changes in cost, coverage, as well as which providers and pharmacies they include in their networks. While you do not need to change plans, you might be spending more money or not getting the most optimal coverage if your current plan isn’t reviewed.
Is my plan going to change?
It can. OR, your plan can stay the same if there are no significant cost differences or other factors in coverage.
When is it?
The Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 - December 7.
Who is it for?
Current Medicare users can choose to re-evaluate their Medicare Advantage and/or Part D plan and compare it against all the other plans on the market. After re-evaluating, if you find a plan that is a better fit for your needs, you can then switch to, drop or add a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan.
People in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan should always review the materials their plans send them, like the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). If their plans are changing, they should make sure their plans will still meet their needs for the following year. If they’re satisfied that their current plans will meet their needs for next year and it’s still being offered, they don’t need to do anything.
Even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare coverage, take action and look at other Medicare options in your area that may better suit your individual needs in the upcoming year. For example, even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you should check to see if there is another plan in your area that will offer you better health and/or drug coverage at a more affordable price. Research shows that people with Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) could lower their costs by shopping among plans each year; there could be another Part D plan in your area that covers the drugs you take with fewer restrictions and/or lower prices.
How do you enroll?
There are different ways for you to sign up for a Part D plan. You can contact Medicare by phone at 800-633-4227 to enroll, or sign up through the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov. You can also enroll through our office.The Insurance Advantage and LMA Financial Services staff can provide you with assistance in enrolling for a Part D plan so that you sign up on time and get the coverage you need.
If you need help enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan, please contact our office at 501-988-2726.